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What’s the largest reptile you can have as a pet?

When you want an impressive pet that will ‘wow’ everyone who sees it, few options are as effective (or fun to keep) as a big, hulking reptile.  Whether you prefer animals with legs or ones without, there are many large reptiles in several different major animal groups to choose from. Here are three of the certifiably largest reptiles you can have as a pet:

Largest Pet Snake: Green Anaconda

The heavyweight champions of order Squamata (the group that contains snakes and lizards), Eunectes murinus is undisputedly huge. They can easily grow to be up to 25 feet long and weigh over 300 pounds. The second-largest snake, the reticulated python, can grow to be as long but does not weigh nearly as much as this carnivorous boa. 

Green anacondas are native to South America and feast on large game such as wild pigs, caimans, and even the occasional large cat. In captivity, however, where they’re less likely to grow to such extreme sizes and thus, require such exorbitant large prey, they can sustain themselves on large rodents (jumbo rats, guinea pigs) and rabbits.

Largest Pet Lizard: Water Monitor

All of the largest true lizards (excluding crocodiles and alligators which belong to their own unique group of reptiles) can be found in the monitor family. This varied group can range from a few inches to 10+ feet in length and easily weigh over 100 pounds. The biggest of this already big bunch is the water monitor. In fact, the only lizard in existence that’s larger than the water monitor is the mighty and fearsome Komodo dragon (but since they’re an endangered and protected species, owning one is illegal and that  is why it wasn’t eligible for our ranking).

Despite their large size, water monitors are less aggressive than their smaller brethren. With enough time, they can actually become quite tame, friendly pets. Their diet consists of fish, birds, eggs and rodents and, as you can imagine, will require an enclosure that’s quite large, roughly the size of a small bedroom. 

Honorable Mention: Tortoises

What tortoises lack in height or length they more than make up for in weight. Short, stout, and heavya a few species of tortoises easily surpass 100 pounds. But size aside, these reptiles are gentle giants: calm, non-aggressive, and friendly (traits most reptiles lack as they increase in size). One of the biggest species also happens to be the most popular, the Sulcata tortoise.

Owning A Big Reptile

Sometimes, bigger really is better. These masses of scales and claws can weigh as much as an adult man and as such, are not for beginners. Keep in mind that the legality of owning any of the species can vary depending on where you live, so be sure to check with local laws before buying any reptiles for sale. Additionally, owning large animals can come with a unique and particular set of requirements that might make them higher maintenance than your standard pet reptile. But if you have the space for a plus-sized enclosure and the experience to handle them safely, you’re in for a thrilling and immensely gratifying experience that few others will ever have.

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